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Everything posted by PeterJ

  1. Great post, Sorcerer. You might like Spencer Brown's 'Laws of Form', in which he presents an ontology based on the same idea as Kant. Brown likens the original phenomenon to a blank piece of paper. Kant calls it 'not an instance of a category'. I think you are on exactly the right track. The empty set is a muddled idea imho, but very close to a good one. Kant's idea of a phenomenon that is beyond the categories of thought seems a better one, since it is the basis of the perennial philosophy.
  2. Amazing. Oh well. I should know better by now on this forum. I know teenagers who have a better grasp of philosophy than these contemptuous comments reveal, and who certainly have more interest. I'll leave you in peace to wander around the issues forever. Don't say I didn't try.
  3. I feel that this represents a real bit of progress towards mutual understanding. Yes, you could say 'all philosophy is undecidable', although it would be a messy way of saying it. But undecidable is not the same thing as unsolvable! What I'm trying to explain, by request, is that while everybody finds that metaphysical questions are undecidable, for nondualism they would be undecidable for a reason. Their undecidability would be explained by saying that the extreme views on which they are founded are wrong. This approach is not possible for a western academic philosopher unless they abandon the tradition and travel to the land of woo where all this is old hat. . . For an example, take the question of whether the universe 'begins' with Something or Nothing. To our intellect neither answer makes sense and both give rise to contradictions. The 'western' approach would be to throw our hands in the air and say that philosophy is hopeless and it is all just a battle of opinions. Kant calls it an 'arena for mock fights'. The 'eastern' approach would be stick with the logic and look for a better answer. For the specifically nondual view the approach would be to say that both of these extreme answers are conceptual fallacies, while the truth would be found by 'sublating' or reducing these conceptual categories. I don't think metaphysics can change science but it would certainly change the metaphysical views of many scientists were they to study it. Metaphysics is to some extent the interpretation of various physical theories, at least where those theories have implications for metaphysics, but they are separate domains such that knowing a lot of physics does not help us much in metaphysics. . Really it's just a matter of logic. There is no need to appeal to religion to make the case for nondualism since the case is made simply by the well-established failure of the alternatives. I see no sound intellectual reason to reject it until it is falsified. Please don't keep asking me to explain things that would take a week. I can point at ideas but cannot be expected to explain them all. Imagine if a poster asked you to explain quantum mechanics and how you would reply. I'll do the best I can but also have a day job... ----"Peter, is there any chance you could make a more determined effort to distinguish between your words and the words of other posters. The resulting mish-mash of ideas is difficult to disentangle when you do not do so. It almost leads me to believe that the other symptoms of passive-aggressive behaviour I see in your posts may be real." Oh yes. Apologies. Even in this post I got caught out by the way posts are aggregated. --- "I do not only expect you to answer this list, I demand that you do so. You have made assertions. Forum rules and general forum etiquette require that you support these assertions, or withdraw them. Personally, I shall be satisfied if you address this one:" I have no intention of answering a lengthy list of questions. I'm not paid enough and all the information is freely available. Ask me one clear question at a time and I will attempt to be helpful. It would work if you quoted one of these assertions and challenged it.
  4. Hi Strange - ---"Can you provide a reference to where I should "go and look"? I have never heard of this "well-known philosophical fact", except from you. Is there a wikiepdia p;age on it? Or something on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy?" Yes, the Stanford Enc. would be a good place to start. Just read some entries on metaphysics. The information is everywhere. Try Kant. He puts this fact as 'All selective conclusions about the world as a whole are undecidable'. Bradley puts it as 'Metaphysics does not endorse a positive result'. But really we only have to stand back and look at academic metaphysics. It quickly becomes obvious that that it cannot falsify Kant's statement, for this is the whole motivation fro logical positivism, dialethism, mysterianism and other pessimistic theories. It would be hopeless trying to deny this fact. You can establish it for yourself without much trouble. Just try deciding a metaphysical question of your choice. ---"I am asking questions. As always you are evading them or giving vague, unhelpful answers. Like the following: And how exactly would it do that (in ways that the scientific method cannot)? What exactly would it tell us about evolutionary process? What exactly would it tell us about the origin of the universe? Presumably it would tell us the universe has an origin? What else? What exactly would it tell us about the nature of the universe? What exactly would it tell us about why scientists cannot find [dark?] matter? (I assume that is what you are referring to as there is not normally any difficulty finding matter.) What exactly would it tell us about "nonlocality and other weird phenomena"? And what do you believe is wrong with the current understanding of those things? If you are going to say you don't know the answers to those questions, can you tell us how you can be so sure it will have such a far reaching effect?" Do you really expect me to answer this list? I feel it is your responsibility to read a book or two. The literature is vast. Schrodinger is excellent on general issues, the physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff says a lot that is relevant about QM, Kant and Hegel deal with most of the logical issues, Francis Bradley proves that all positive metaphysical positions fail in logic, George Spencer Brown shows how this allows for the formulation of the universe to be described by a simple calculus, etc etc. If you want a good place to start I'll think about it. Everybody is different so its not an automatic choice. It's up to you. I feel no desperate need to convert you.
  5. 'East' and 'West' are commonly used to describe two different traditions of thought. Have you not come across this distinction before? It is very common. It is also very misleading, but it is often a useful.shorthand for two different approaches. In the West we reject the solution of philosophy that is most common in the East. Heidegger blames Plato for this, dating the loss of the idea of unity in our philosophy to his Academy. But whoever we blame these are two quite different approaches to philosophy. The difference would be that eastern thought encompasses the notion of nonduality and unity and is profoundly optimistic in respect of the possibility of knowledge, while in the west we find philosophy to be a dead end. .
  6. Oh boy. Here we go again. ---"The statement "all X are false" is hardly neutral. It is a pretty positive statement of your belief." In this case it must be obvious that you are misinterpreting it. It is not a statement of belief, it is a statement of a well-known philosophical fact. Do you really not know that it is the case? If not, then I can understand your scepticism. But just go have a look, it's not a secret. ---"Aaaand ... here we go again. We can start the countdown to when you stop posting and blame us for not knowing the answers." Of course I blame you. It is poor scholarship. You hold strong opinions on a topic you have not studied. This is never a good idea. If you were asking questions rather than arguing I wouldn't blame you but simply respect your interest. "How, exactly, would it be useful in theoretical physics and biology?" it would shed light on evolutionary processes and answer questions about the origin and nature of the universe. It would explain why science cannot find matter when they go looking for it, and in my opinion would help to make sense of nonlocality and other weird phenomena. Please note that this is very well-established and well-developed metaphysical theory, not something I just invented. If you do not know of it then this cannot be blamed on me. Give me a break for goodness sake. You more or less force me to be confrontational when there is no need for it. ---"As your claims are philosophy, not science, these people you support would dismiss your vague waffle out of hand." Yes they would, of course, This is because they are not philosophers. If they were, they would see that academic philosophy is currently a waste of time just as they claim, but that there are better ways to do philosophy. They are not complaining about philosophy, just academic philosophy, which is why i can support them. Perhaps one of the mods can post a sticky on the 'Principle of Charity'. It might save a lot if unnecessary arguments. Edit: if you are interested then googling 'science and nonduality' might be revealing. It's a hot topic.
  7. The statement is not endorsing a positive position but a neutral one. So, no, this statement is not included. The usefulness of the theory is not the issue. It will be useful if we use it. It is useful to me, far more so than any physical theory, but only because I'm interested in more than just science.,It would be useful in theoretical physics and biology, I believe, but it is is barely known in these disciplines. Scientists tend to respect their academic colleagues in the philosophy faculty, and they seem uninterested in solving problems. I would support the philosophobia expressed by Tyson, Dawkins and their like, who see academic philosophy as a waste of funding and office space. Lol. No, I tried and failed. You'll just have to explain. Not everyone sees religion and science and having to be enemies.
  8. This particular issue is not to do with science. I'm talking about metaphysics. I wonder why you assume I'm bashing science. Why would I do that? I only ever bash scientists who venture outside their field and start making metaphysical pronouncements. By 'true or not' I meant that it would not matter whether we believe it is true or not. it works as a solution for metaphysics. Obviously I did not mean that we cannot establish whether it works. There is a lot of information of this topic freely available. If you want to look into these ideas then google is your friend. The usefulness of this theory is that it allows us to make sense of philosophy and questions like whether the universe begins or not. To make things a little more clear - nondualism can be seen as a meta-metaphysical theory since it would cover psychology, soteriology and other things. As a specifically formal metaphysical theory it would be better, I think, to see it as a neutral metaphysical position. We could see it as a global compatabilism, generalising the solution that many people adopt for freewill/determinism to all other such problems. In short, it dismisses metaphysical dilemmas as category-errors caused by the reification of conceptual categories and a misuse of logic much as Kant proposes. In modern scientific consciousness studies it can appear as 'relative phenomenalism', which sounds a bit more scientific than 'mysticism' or 'perennial philosophy'. I don't want to argue but will try to respond to questions. This is pretty much off-topic, however, so maybe it's best left for elsewhere. The point was simply that these issues cannot be dealt with in the natural sciences.
  9. I think it would be best to read Wiki, or I could recommend various books or even my blog. I certainly would not attempt to explain it from scratch. But here's a few notes. Nondualism states that all positive metaphysical positions are false. This would explain why all such positions are logically absurd and thus why metaphysical problems are undecidable. These problems would be (false) dilemmas created by opposing two positive theories, (e,g the universe begins/does not begin), where neither answer works. To do this is to abuse Aristotle's logic. There is nothing at all contentious about proposing that all such positions are absurd since this is metaphysics 101. The contentious claim is that these positions are absurd because they are false. This is something that cannot be conceded in 'western' thought, because if it were conceded then it would become indistinguishable from 'eastern thought. Still, it is surely telling that nondualism predicts the absurdity of all extreme or positive metaphysical positions, and that no other systematic theory does this. You may feel that it appears to be mumbo jumbo, John, but this is not relevant. It is the philosophical basis for Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, Theosophy, esoteric Christianity, advaita Vedanta and other similar traditions, so people who look into it do tend to get past the appearance of mumbo jumbo. . True or not, it represents an explanation for metaphysics. But it is not an easy theory to understand. One would be trying to understand reality. The relevant point here is simply that the natural sciences have nothing to say about this issue. It has to be sorted out in metaphysics (or experience).
  10. I'm sorry a couple of you guys think that I dodge questions. I don't usually, although sometimes I may feel it isn't worth the effort. I've come across a more sympathetic audiences for ideas the smack of religion. . I've given an answer here as requested, albeit so far it's been ignored. The science-religion discussion is going to be rather shallow if it ignores the philosophical scheme of mysticism and the analytical results of metaphysics. It will end up being an argument about God's existence and the value of Protestantism and go nowhere. It is possible, even probable, that the sceptics are right about the veracity and explanatory power of what they are calling religion, depending on their definition or concept of it, but it will always remain the case that science cannot explain metaphysics. It would be like biology trying to explain chemistry - an upside down approach. So the religion argument is not quite the point and not the crucial deciding factor. In the search for a reductive theory it's where metaphysics begins that science would end, hence the need for two disciplines.
  11. Did you ask? Funny,. I haven't posted here for ages. One solution would be nondualism, which denies that anything truly real came into existence in the first place, including time and space. There's more to it, of course. Schrodinger was a fan.
  12. ---" If we carry on we'll end up at the "first cause" paradigm which as we know is a paradox of logic. So maybe end here?" This is where physics ends and metaphysics starts. Metaphysics exists precisely because science cannot explain everything. No need to bring religion into it unless we feel like it. The 'first cause' certainly looks like a paradox, but it can be resolved. Not by science, however, for this is a matter of logic and first principles. Science must wait for the university philosophers to get their act together. I wouldn't suggest holding your breath.
  13. Yes. I may well have made that mistake. If so pardon me. I should have said 'legitimate' or somesuch. A contradiction would be a pair of assertions meeting Aristotle's rule for contradictory pairs, while a 'true' contradiction would be an assertion that is both true and false simultaneously. Interesting that you brought up dialethism. Usually my argument is used to oppose dialethism and I believe it is successful, but since physicists sometimes see true contradictions in QM the same argument arises. I see it a crucial topic with very important implications for philosophy and physics but often it gets bogged down in the details, as here, which are not really the interesting issue. .
  14. I have no comment to make about eigenstates, but I'm hoping that uncool is correct about this. Andrew. - I feel that dialethism is nonsense. I have been arguiing against Priest, Routley and Melhuish for years. My argument is that they are making exactly the same mistake that scientists often make in in relation to QM and that I am discussing here. So I'd agree that diaethism is directly relevant, but feel that you haven't quite grokked my point about logic yet. Dialethism claims true contradictions. I deny them.
  15. Drat. I wish religion was not always lazily elided with theism. I usually agree with the mods at every turn, but in this case I wonder why we are not allowed to propose that consciousness cannot be explained by science in a thread that asks whether science can explain everything.
  16. Yay - I think uncool may be on something like my wavelength. Andrew - "no one in this thread objected with this example. whether or not it could actually be used to argue against LEM applicability in QM i can't say" I don't think there's anything to add to this. The example seems applicable to QM as it is. For the LEM we have to establish a contradiction. "perhaps you can explain why objections actually raised in this thread do no make LEM irrelevant or inapplicable instead of just repeating what your view is." I have been explaining this all the way through, since it is my view. "...and maybe you can give a quick look over this http://arxiv.org/pdf...h/0101028v2.pdf - a difference they note between classical and quantum logic is LEM holds in classical. A quick look? Lol. Where exactly does it show that true contradictions exist? In philosophy there is extreme scepticism as to the possibility of true contradictions, so clearly none have yet been found, If contradicitons arise in the maths of QM for reasons given by uncool, viz. to do our underlying assumptions, then this would not count. I would happily concede that contradictions may arise in the maths, as result of a particular formalisation, but it's the phenomenon itself that must be shown to contradictory. if there is a contradicton then there is no third option, and if there is a third option then there is no contradiction. How then, can there be a true contradiction? Under these rules there is no possibility of true contradiction. This was Aristotle's genius, that he defined his rules so the the world could do what it likes but the rules would be unnafected. He was very aware that logic can prove nothing about reality and so set up the rules to allow reality to do what it likes without there ever being any need to abandon them. But people very often define false contradictions and then wonder why the rules won't work. The classic and miost important example wiould be metaphysics, where it happens all the time, but it seems to also happen in physics. Take the Mind-Matter problem. If we see this as a contradiction it is intractible, as history shows. So these decisions about what is a contradiction and what is not are vital. But I've said my piece and as you point out, can only now repeat myself.
  17. Weird. We seem to be unable to understand each other. They would always be relevant but they would only apply under certain conditions. If the conditions are not met in some case then they would not apply in that case. I suppose you could say they are irrelevant in such cases but really they remain relevant, just not applicable. That is, the LEM may be 'irrelevant' to, say, the particle-wave duality, but this would not render it irrelevant to QM or imply the need for any modifictation. It would be just that there would be no contradiction, so we would have no reason to apply it in this case. The contradictory for 'a wave' would be 'not-a-wave'. The contradictory partner for 'a wave' would NOT be 'a particle'. 'Wave-particle' is not a dialectic contradiction and thus the LEM would not apply. I don't feel it would be correct to say that the LEM becomes irrelevant because it could be a very misleading idea, but I suppose you could say this. When we are deciding which of three pairs of socks to wear we can say that the LEM is irrelevant, but I'd rather say it doesn't apply. Otherwise there might be a misunderstanding about whether it applies, as it does, when there are only two pairs of socks. The LEM would 'irrelevant' in your terminology in exactly the situations Aristotle tells us that it does not apply. I would prefer 'illegitimate'. or 'inapplicable' to 'irrelevant', and I suspect he would have preferred it also, but it's just a terminology thing. .
  18. As I have said many times, I think they should be used properly at all times, with no exceptions. I thought we just agreed that the laws are fine. If people wnat to abandon them they can. Nobody is forced to think rationally.
  19. Exactly. The laws work fine, even in QM. This is really all I'm suggesting. We could leave it there. But there is a deeper issue which arises when an error in applying the laws leads to our closing off 'nomic' possibilities. So this is a simple point about logic but quite an important one, and very relevant to the OP. It even happens in politics. People often forget that Democrat and Rebublican are not the only options so feel they have to pick a side and argue for it. They do, but only because of the way the system is set up, not because Nature only offers these two possibilities. Not a great example but the basically the same issue. Are we sorted?
  20. Heisenberg proposes that QM necessitates a modification to the LEM. This is the view I am opposing. He applies the LEM incorrectly so finds he needs to modify it. In fact the LEM is simply irrelevant to the case since he cites a false contradiction. No modification is required. Likewise some physicists argue that the law of thought must be abandoned for QM. I'm suggesting that they are making the same logical mistake as Heisenberg. The distinction would be crucial. For example, if we assume that an electron must be a wave or a particle then the LEM must apply, and then we run into problems of logic. We are likely to end up wanting to modify or abandon the laws. If we drop the assumption, however, then there can be a third option and the laws will work just fine. Here it would be our assumption that causes the logical problem, not Nature, and it is solved by dropping the assumption. The logical problem that arises from this particular duality can be interpreted as a violation of the laws of logic by Nature, or as telling us that there is a third option. I would vote for the latter interpretation, the one by which Nature is consistent with the way we think.
  21. Yes, this is the issue that is becoming confused. It's a slightly subtle one. If I go to buy bread and milk and find that I only have enough money on me for one of them, then now I must choose. I could buy one or the other and it looks a bit like a binary decision. But then, I could buy a third product. In this case the LEM would not apply to this decision. This would not, however, mean that the laws of thought must be abandoned for shopping. It is just that in this situation.the laws awould be irrelevent to anything and cannot be applied. In the same way, there are instances where it applies and does not apply in QM. So QM is just like any other intellectual activity. We make decision based on the laws of logic where it is legitimate to do so, and not otherwise. The laws will not apply unless there is a contradiction (a dialectic thesis and counter-thesis). Where there is not this would not mean that the laws must be abandoned, just that they are not applicable. It's like saying that the law against murder is not applicable until someone has committed one. What I'm opposing is the ideas that QM requires the abandonment of the laws. This idea seems to arise from their misapplication. . Aristotle gives the conditions necessary for the application of the laws and where those conditions are met the laws will apply. Where they are not met the laws will not apply, I cannot think of a situation where they could sensibly be abandoned or how they could ever be inconsistent with reality. I'm not sure why this has turned out to be a contentious point here but I presume I'm missing something. Maybe it's getting sorted out.
  22. Well, according to the LEM I must have meant one of these statements. Perhaps they were said in different contexts. The laws would be irrelevant in respect of false contradictions, those 'paradoxes' that are assumed and not proven, but just as relevant as ever where there is a genuine contradition as specified in the rules. It would be tragic if scientists abandoned the laws for QM for then rational thinking would be impossible. They tend to abandon it in certain specific cases, which I am suggesting is not necessary since they would not apply for those cases. . .
  23. I would see this is as exactly the error that makes the topic so important. What you say would only be true where you have defined '1' an '0' to be a contradiction or where you can prove that it is one. Otherwise the LEM would not apply and the entire number line would exist as options. You cannot say there is a contradiction AND there are other options. You have to make your mind up which it is to be. In your example you state that there are other options, perhaps fractional values, so the LEM would be irrelevant to the case. The point is basically simple. A contradiction must be defined or proved for the LEM to work correctly. If a contradiction is merely assumed then our calculations may go very wrong. This would be why Aristotle goes to so much trouble to be clear about what would constitue a contradiction and what would not. I'm suggesting that often we are not as clear as he is, and that although this is a much bigger issue in philosophy it also has an impact in physics. .
  24. How can the laws of thought be irelevant to QM? This idea is surely absurd. There are no logical contradictions that arise from QM, so nothing to worry about. QM does not break the LEM for it would be impossible for it to do so. . . Um. So there are three possibilities. In this case how can there be a contradiction? Is it not rather obvious that 1 and 0 are not a contradiction where a third state is possible? It hardly seems necessary to point it out. It is you who are asuming that there is no third option but in this case there clearly is,. A contradiction wouldbe where all the possibilites are expressed in the two halves. If there are other possibilities then it is not a contradiction. This seems to be very straightforward and would be the interpretation of the LEM recommended by the person who formalised it. . I apologise if I have seemed rather touchy, but I found the dismissive approach of one or two posters difficult. I'll press my reset buttton.
  25. A qubit? So it's a combination of 1 and 0. What would this have to do with any logical problem. Of course the LEM would be irrelevant. It's a combination of 1 and 0. You just said so. Future events? Wha have they got to do with anything? You are muddling up two quite different issues. Not one objection to my point has been made so far. I give up. Poor old Aristotle. It's odd that I write on this topic a fair bit and receive no complaints, then I come here and everyone is up in arms. Everyone always seems to be up in arms here. It is weird. I suppose it is some sort of allergy to non-scientists. But I am being inflammatory. Best if I just leave.
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